FOXTROTS

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

March 13 2011

 

Singapore. STB to rethink the count?

 

S

INGAPORE’S visitor numbers are now in disarray – but for positive rather than negative reasons. Growth in visitor arrivals in Singapore in 2010 was just under 20%. That is undeniably a good result. And particularly because – unlike some other destinations such as Hong Kong – this was not just a matter of travellers from China.

Many thought/think that business for the gambling resorts that opened in 2010 – Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World – are primarily from China.

Although Singapore’s 2010 China visitor figure did indeed increase faster than the overall total, but not by much – arrivals from China increased about 25%. That pushed up China’s share of the total but also not by much – it has grown only from just under 11% to just over.

Overall visitor spend may have increased 45% in 2010. But editorial comment on whether that growth is good, bad or indifferent is difficult – because the figures include gambling revenues, and there is currently no benchmark in Singapore for that.

(Even Macau has long had casinos and just added many more over five years; but Singapore had none in 2009. I estimate Macau’s gambling revenues increased at an annual 31% over 2005-10, which seems to indicate Singapore’s growth is not as impressive as it might appear, but then its two casinos were not open for the full 12 months in 2010.)

 

However, I can say with confidence that Singapore’s targets for 2015 – 17mn visitors and US$23/S$30bn visitor spend – are now irrelevant. The VPO admits that it will need to rework forecasts – because its gambling resorts were not comprehensively included when those 2015 forecasts were made. I expect this rework to take place some time in the next two years, but probably sooner than later, and probably for 2020 target so that it hides a change/fault in the old targets.

Another side (not, note, snide) comment is that the 20% growth in arrivals was higher than the 7% increase in flight numbers. And that means there were more bigger aircraft flying into Singapore – which is the primary factor – and that airline passenger loads were higher.

 

The Fox